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click here for the claims of the judicial & legal establishment, as reflected by the US Courts' website

CJA's May 13, 2008 memo to Congressional Leaders --
RE:   Request for Congressional Hearings on the Breyer Committee's Report on the Implementation of the Judicial Conduct and Disability Act of 1980; &, Pending Same, Deferment of Congressional Action on Senate and House Bills, S. 1638 and H.R. 3753, to Raise Judicial Salaries 29%"


  "A raise that's hard to justify", January 4, 2008, Op-Ed, Los Angeles Times

"Before Congress gives some of the highest-paid members of the federal government a raise, however, it should study and weigh the evidence.  And currently, there is virtually no evidence that higher pay means better judges or that lower pay means lousy judges.  In fact, the available evidence shows no correlations between judicial performance and judicial pay."

"Should We Pay Federal Circuit Judges More?", Boston University Law Review, 2008

       Chief Justice Roberts, his brethren, and many prominent members of the legal community have issued statements about the corrosive effect of low judicial salaries. The heated rhetoric is itself telling: low judicial salaries are creating a “constitutional crisis”; [fn] because of low salaries “the nation is in danger of having a judiciary that is no longer considered one of the leading judiciaries of the world”;[fn] and “eroding federal judicial salaries will lead, sooner or later, to less capable judges and ultimately to inferior adjudication.”[fn] 
       This Article is the first to test whether judicial salaries really do impact judicial performance. Given the available data, the effect of low judicial pay is non-existent, at least when judicial pay is measured against the next best financial opportunity for most circuit judges. Low pay does not impact voting patterns, citation practices, the speed of controversial case disposition, or opinion quality. Low pay does lead to slightly fewer dissents. While statistically significant, the magnitude of this effect is slight.
       Low judicial salaries might have a corrosive character. The source of the corrosion, however, rests outside judicial performance. Chief Justice Roberts is probably half right: low judicial salaries erect a barrier to entry onto the bench for some candidates. But this barrier is inconsequential if those candidates who are willing to take judgeships are indistinguishable from those candidates driven from the applicant pool by low judicial salaries. That is the story these data support." 

                        *    *    *
"...my judicial performance measures don’t perfectly capture judicial quality.[fn] But if not these measures, what measures exist to assess the quality of federal circuit court judges? The short answer – none – is unsatisfying. The “I-know-a-good-federal-circuit-judge-when-I-see one” angle is hard to test. The article employs every metric I could think of, including most of the metrics used by scholars studying the circuit courts.[fn]  At the start of the project, my sense was that Congress would care about these measures when considering a judicial pay raise. Suppose that the study had found statistically significant and economically meaningful correlations between financial sacrifice and voting patterns in controversial cases, dissent rates, the time it takes to render decisions, citation practices in opinion writing, and the number of outside circuit citations opinions tend to garner. In that case, I suspect Chief Justice John Roberts himself would have pointed to the study to “prove” to Congress the need for higher salaries."


                        "Judicial Salary: Current Issues and Options for Congress", updated January 10, 2008,

                         by Kevin M. Scott, Analyst on the Federal Judiciary, Government & Finance Division

          Several federal judges, including the Chief Justice of the United States, have expressed concern over the level of judicial salary. Chief Justice Roberts has called the current levels of judicial salary a “constitutional crisis” that threatens the independence of the federal courts. The most common arguments for raising judicial salary claim that low judicial salaries (1) limit the ability of the federal judiciary to draw on a diverse pool of candidates for positions on the federal bench; (2) force federal judges concerned about their financial futures to resign from the bench before they become eligible for retirement; and (3) drive other federal judges, upon becoming eligible for retirement, to retire completely (to earn extra income outside the judiciary), rather than remain to assist the courts as judges on 'senior status.'  Opponents of raising judicial salary generally question whether variations in judicial salary affect recruitment and retention of federal judges. 
         Examination of the available evidence on the effect of judicial salary on judicial recruitment and retention suggests (1) trends away from appointing judges directly from private practice and toward appointing federal judges who are already in the judiciary (as state judges or federal bankruptcy or magistrate judges) date to before the most recent decline in judicial salaries, (2) federal judges are not resigning from the federal bench at rates much higher than historical averages, and (3) the percentage of federal judges who chose retirement in lieu of senior status has also not risen markedly in the last several years. From an examination of data on judicial departures, we are unable to identify a conclusive relationship between judicial salary and federal judges’ decisions to resign or retire."


3.    See, also, Judge Richard Posner's blog: March 18, 2007: Judicial Salaries



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